Voices from the Village: Elephant Conservation and Ethical Tourism
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Voices from the Village: Elephant Conservation and Ethical Tourism

February 27, 2020

There’s a lot of things happening here at Patara Elephant Farm and it keeps all of us smile every time we think about it because the elephants for me they are just like one of us. They’re like human beings but just happen to be born in a different physical form. The reason that I founded Patara Elephant Farm is because I have found the fact that the elephant population here in Thailand for this part of the world has declined rapidly with or without people noticing nearly half of them have disappeared in just the last 40 years – half of their lifespan. so that say, the declining rate – it’s critical. To have the elephants sharing the world with human beings it is very important that we have to look at conservation differently – progressively. And Patara Elephant Farm, it’s a new role model for positive conservation in Thailand and the whole world. In the way you approach the elephant, walk with your fruit and when you get close to the elephant you say, “bon” “bon” means “up” – trunk up. Bon! and then you begin to feed. Even though at this stage Patara Elephant Farm has become one of the very successful places in elephant rescues, health recovery and reproduction management for Thailand, with the highest birth rate for domestic elephant management, we still strongly believe that the elephant conservation will not be a success by one organization alone. Hands together and work together and do the best in what each are doing benefits for the elephant population of the world. The Four “R’s” here are Patara Elephant Farm is like a working frame that we all focus on. We begin from rescue elephants from unsuitable living condition. And then importantly after rescues we have to follow by the next “R” which is Recovery. They do have rights to be better as far as their health condition, knowledge, technology, and budget allow them to be healthy at that time. Interestingly is once the elephants are healthy and happy, then the female elephant being fertile every four months and that’s when we do the third “R” – Reproduction. And then the final “R” is to have them together and create family. And that’s what we call Reintroduction. The elephant family structures are pretty much in the same way of how Thai family structures is like because they all stay together and they all take turns to look after children. Tourism is a great opportunity for people from a different part of the world to be in the part of conservation at the same time. Because I believe that now today education and understanding is so important we really want people to be here and learn and understand the elephant for real. And then hopefully people who return from their trip visiting us can share to their friends and their family and make more understanding about the situation of the elephants in Thailand in reality. Donate your time, and get us funded. Today you not just touch the elephant you were here, become friends, you feed them and look after them for the whole day so I wish you all good luck and since this is our still beginning of the year so I wish you good luck for the whole year and come back in the future and the elephant will still remember you. Elephant riding can just be one of the ten, twenty activities that a elephant caregiver would do in a day for the elephant. The elephant are very active animal and they need to travel and relocate Having elephants do nothing, stay at the same spot, being overfed by the same food, eat at the same location can be very destructive for their health and mind condition. It is very much common here in this part of the world, Asia, that people traveling on the elephant, traveling with elephant, in just very similar ways that people in Western countries travel with horses, donkeys, but we just have to do it right. And I strongly believe that friendly elephants, friendly people, health care and elephant conservation, educational tourism, and partly business to support the whole project can be moving forward progressively, positively, at the same time.

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